Wesley So bows to Nakamura in Speed Chess Championship finals
MANILA, Philippines – Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura made use of his vast experience in bullet chess to down fellow Team USA mainstay GM Wesley So, 15-12.5, and rule the 2018 Chess.com Speed Chess Championship on Monday, December 3.
Living up to his top seeding, the Osaka-born Nakamura bested the Cavite-born So, 5.0-2.5, in the one minute + 1 second increment event to bag the title that went to absentee world champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway last year.
Despite Nakamura's higher rating, So was able to forge a 5-5 deadlock in both the blitz (5+1) and blitz (3+1) events earlier, paving the way for bullet chess, which Nakamura regularly plays online.
The 30-year-old Nakamura bagged the $5,000 first prize, plus a majority share of another $5,000 for won games and winnings in the earlier rounds of the all-GM, 16-player tournament.
En route to the crown, Nakamura dumped Hou Yifan, the world's highest rated female player, 27.5-2.5, France's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, 21.5-13.5, and Armenia's Levon Aronian, 17-12, in the semifinals.
The 25-year-old So trounced Poland's Jan-Krzystof Duda, 20-7, in the other semifinal tussle.
While So boasts a higher Elo rating over Nakamura in classical play, 2765 against 2746, Nakamura enjoys a big edge in both rapid, 2844-2797, and blitz, 2884-2775, competitions.
So plays board 2 and Nakamura board 3 for Team USA, which yielded its Chess Olympiad title to China in this year's edition held in Batumi, Georgia.
Other competitors in the elite 16-player field are Russian-born Dutch Anish Giri, Azerbaijan's Shakriyar Mamedyarov, Russia's Ian Nepomniatchi, Rusia's Alexander Grischuk and Armenia's Zaven Adriasyan.
In the 2017 Speed Chess Championship, Carlsen routed Nakamura, 18-9, in the finals and So, 27.5-9.5, in the second round. – Rappler.com